Reader Mail

Wal-Mart Marked Off

A reader shopping spree. Plus: High Definition Hillary. Up to speed with the Salvation Army. Emergency room visits. And more.

3.7.04

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STRUDELED
Re: Editor's Desk message of 3/5/04:

Sehr geehrter Herren:

Cowards! Wimps!

No EOW, because of a Ski Trip to the Tyrol??!!

I have performed Mozart in the Salzburgerdom. I have performed Charles Ives and selections from the Sacred Harp in the Karlskirche. I have researched the Wiener Volksoper in the Wiener Rathaus library, and the Augustinersaal. I have also performed in the theater in the old Schloss in the Alpendorf of Kaprun.

I have been to Austria, the land of Karl von Boehm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, and August von Hayek. And you can't do an EOW from Tyrol because you're skiing??

You're getting Frencher by the day.

Herzlichen Gruessend.
-- Jim Stevenson
San Diego, California
(P.S. Oder ist das, "Sankt Jakob, CA"?)

WAL-MART SPECIAL
Re: K. Andrew Jackson's Retail Politics:

Thank you, Mr. Jackson for another opportunity to laugh at the spectacle that is California. Two points jump out at me: Nothing like the left's displeasure with Wal-Mart's. The fact that Wal-Mart's put the Mom and Pop retailer out of business is a favorite whine. Yeah, 'cause I want to pay more and have less selection when I shop. Amazing the lefties pine for "the good old days" when it involves creating a more inefficient shopping experience, yet when an institution like marriage is on its last legs and the social costs we bear because of that are through the roof, any attempt to shore up that institution is viewed as a roadblock toward "progress."

Secondly, how about the fallout from banning the building of electric plants for a decade leading up to the electricity crisis in June of '02? Once again those brilliant decision-makers bowed to the gods of political correctness, forbade the building of power plants, then when Californians had to import power from other states, had the gall to blame the market prices they were paying on the "price-gougers."

The majority of the Golden State is affected by a disease that causes them to defer to the "cultural reasons" and "aesthetic vibes" of a particular decision rather than weighing the pros and cons like a rational person would. When one enters into the decision-making process with the given variables being "Wal-Mart = bad" or "power plants = bad" without a second counter-intuitive thought, it's no wonder the state's such a mess.
-- William H. Stewart
Boston, Massachusetts

Jackson seems to have learned his journalism from liberals. Whenever a liberal has to mention a fact he doesn't like, he puts it in quotes, as if to say, "this is only what others are claiming." Wal-Mart does pay "low wages" and offer "paltry benefits." They don't even deny that fact, they simply claim they're necessary to keep their prices low.

The real problem with Wal-Mart is the Walton family itself and the Arkansas culture that surrounds it. It's the "old time religion" of the South, heavy on pietism and down on porn, but a religion that comes up short on making sure the children of those who work for you get decently fed and clothed. The South I grew up in was full of that. The only obvious malnutrition I've seen in the 26 countries I've visited was that of Southern poor whites. The ultimate cause were preachers who lacked the spiritual backbone to tell their wealthier members to take less for themselves and give more to their workers. That's as much a part of the culture of the South as NASCAR.

Jackson is probably right when he notes that L.A. liberals care as little for badly paid Wal-Mart employees and they do for the poor folk who so desperately need Wal-Mart's low prices. But the same can be said for Walton family billionaires. If they had hearts, they'd pass some of their vast wealth along to their employees as stock options.

Ordinances aren't the solution to the Wal-Mart problem. Lots and lots of bad press directed at making the Waltons uncomfortable is. They're probably not bad people. They're just typical of the Southern rich. They use "we're just like family" to cover their blindness. They need their eyes opened.
-- Mike Perry
Inkling Books
Seattle, Washington

This store got rid of our other discount stores and is not necessarily the cheap for poor people store. One can shop at Macy's or Filene's for clothing and other goods at a much better price when they have their weekly sales and the goods are superior to Wal-Mart's. Also our super Wal-Mart grocery department is more expensive in the food department than some of our regular food stores so many of us here are not Wal-Mart fans. Of course many people shop Wal-Mart but I personally would prefer to use the known store in the area.
-- Anne Hanlon
New Hampshire

The animus against Wal-Mart has everything to do with populist dislike for its business and labor policies and its disdain for the neighborhoods it afflicts with its presence and nothing to do with cultural reasons.

If Wal-Mart thought it could make a profit running legal but cut-rate whorehouses in Nevada, it would do so and use imported labor to boot.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

K. Andrew Jackson did an excellent piece on the Luddites of La-La Land who have kept Wal-Mart out of town. The anti-Wal-Mart types are in league with those I call the "watermelons," envirowackos who are green on the outside and red on the inside. They are bent on destroying our capitalistic free enterprise system in favor of their socialism.

Here in the small towns of the central Oregon coast, activist public officials have been successful in keeping out the "big box" stores like Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco, etc. We who live here are obliged to make one of two choices -- do without or drive some 70 miles one way to the state capital, Salem. Shoot, even the tiny hamlet of Squim, WA has a Costco. There is a Wal-Mart in Newport, about 18 miles south of my home and my wife and I make a weekly drive there for out needs though this Wal-Mart does not have a grocery section. However, we solve that problem by shopping at a Fred Meyer, aka Kroger, store. We do have some small supermarkets close by, but they are limited by selection and generally higher prices.

Now I do have a beef with Wal-Mart. In their policy of the lowest prices, most of what they sell is made in China or some other third world nation. The goods are somewhat shoddy, but you get what you pay for. We are blessed with an outlet mall that does offer some top of the line products at reasonable prices. The permanent residents here are, for the most part, retirees with limited incomes like myself. We do our best to keep costs down, but a couple of large discount stores close by would be a big help. The coast also has a problem that has been on-going for as long as I can remember. That is the cost of gasoline that skyrockets out of sight during the summer months. This compounds the problem of having to drive some distance for shopping. Last summer the price rose and is still up there with little hope of coming down even a little bit. It almost seems like there is a conspiracy to keep us retirees poor.

One final comment: Two days ago I made and impulse purchase in the local market. I picked up a bag of toasted bagel slices. They were delicious. In looking at the bag, I read that the company is based in Australia and the bagel chips are made in Bulgaria!
-- Al Martin
Depoe Bay, Oregon

My problem with Wal-Mart is only that they seem to use government officials to use Eminent Domain to condemn homes and properties because WM promises more taxes than the original land owners.

Neal Boortz has been pressing this issue for a while now.
-- Donald A. Holloway
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Perhaps another reason, and this dovetails perfectly with the lefties' economic principles, is their fright of reduced sales tax revenue. The county nitwits fear lower prices mean lower sales tax receipts as if the money that people save vanishes into thin air, is not spent elsewhere, or heavens forbid goes into a savings account. Forget the fact that increased competition is an established benefit for all or the significant increase in job growth that comes with an additional business. The goose is just too tasty to wait for the occasional egg.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, CA

TREMORS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Woman in Kerry's Future and Reader Mail's Veepers Creepers:

Hillary has already served two terms as Co-President, thus making her ineligible to run for either the office of President or Vice President. If however there is some glitch in the law I'm overlooking, and Hillary can run as Vice President, would Bill then be the President of Vice instead of 2nd spouse or whatever he would be?
-- Lew Ellis

About your speculation that Hillary will seek the vice-presidency of this great republic: Yes. She must do so.

Remember that the deal in '92 and '96 was a "co-presidency," which the honorable Bill described as "buy one get one free." (A joke, that, but no one in China laughed.)

That means that in those two years a vote for the honorable Bill was a vote for the every bit as honorable Hillary. That means she has been elected to the presidency twice, and constitutional amendment forbids her being so elected a third time.

Word from HQ of the Clinton shadow government in Malibu says Ms. Rodham-Clinton was infuriated when underlings told her about the Constitution and all the stuff it prohibits. ("So I put up with this crap for 30 years and I still don't get the job?")

So the vice-presidency is the only avenue open to her, although Ickes suggests they can find some sort of exception in hate crime legislation or zoning ordinance. Dershowitz is on it.
-- Edmund Dantes

Pray High Definition TV explodes soon to shake a nation with full frontal Hillary.
-- W. A. Nehs
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

CAUGHT IN THE FAST LANE
Re: Eric Peters' Points Spread:

Perhaps Mr. Peters has failed to notice that his car insurance covers medical expenses. Get into an accident without wearing your seatbelt and your medical expenses will increase. This increases the cost to the insurance company which then passes it along to all its customers. So as someone who ends up having to pay more even though you may have a perfect driving record, you should fully support giving nimrods tickets for not wearing their seatbelts.

As for me, I make money off of those same morons since I get to bill them for services rendered when they show up in my intensive care unit. I will tell you that the ones who die actually cost very little. They usually die in the first day or two. It's the ones who live, especially with a severe degree of disability, who start racking up the bills. And that costs all of us. Well, it costs the rest of you. My bottom line is positive in this case. As for the ones who were wearing their seatbelts during an accident, I actually don't make much money off of them since they usually do fine and are out of my unit in a hurry. Which is a shame since they tend to have good insurance. Good insurance, heck, they tend to have insurance.

But feel free to drive around without your seatbelt on. Reminds me of those "This is your brain..." commercials.
-- Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.
San Antonio, Texas

"What it ultimately comes down to is whether we want a government -- or a Salvation Army cajoling us to adopt certain "good for us" behaviors. " Eric Peters

I believe Eric Peters is confused about the purpose, and the actions concerning The Salvation Army. Perhaps he is simply a poor student of history, or perhaps he is just a poor writer, but The Salvation Army neither "conjoles" nor requires any particular behavior from the clients and the communities it serves. Neither is there a platform with which it demands that society and its denizens change their lifestyles or their habits. We simply help those less fortunate than others. Whether it is a poor social skillset, destructive lifestyle choices, or singular circumstances that causes those in need to come through our doors, we serve them all without prejudice or requirement to change.

Mr. Peters' comments sound as if he may be recalling his grandmother's viewpoint in warning him about his character as an adult, and he is characterizing a tremendous organization in a manner inconsistent with their history and purpose.

Another Peter, Peter Drucker, who is considered by many to be the world's preeminent management thinker, has also recently commented on The Salvation Army. His quote, as opposed to Mr. Peters', shows quite a different viewpoint: "The Salvation Army is by far the most effective organization in the U.S. No one even comes close to it with respect to clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results, dedication, and putting money to maximum use." (Forbes Magazine)

On behalf of all the wonderful people who support The Salvation Army, staff and volunteers; and on behalf of all those they serve, I respectfully submit to Mr. Peters that he has offended and belittled one of the world's most cherished institutions.

Or do we all get lumped in together as "bad moralists"?
-- Ross Kelsey
Executive Director
The Salvation Army
Athens, Ohio

FLIPPERS
Dick Melville notes in Friday's Reader Mail that "(i)f Hillary Clinton were to go on the ticket with John Kerry it would require her to flip her position on several issues in order to show unity with Kerry." I disagree.

It would be Kerry who would flip his positions, as he's done habitually on too many issues to count. In fact, the only way anyone would notice that Kerry has changed would be that he suddenly became consistent on a whole slew of issues.

Furthermore, given his track record with respect to strong-willed women, Kerry would be perfectly comfortable with this arrangement. But I still don't think it'll happen.

Teresa would never stand for it.
-- Kevin McGehee
Coweta County, Georgia

DONE DEAL
Re: Kitty Myers' letter ("Vive Les Differences") in Reader Mail's Veepers Creepers:

Mon Dieu, the irony.

For the past two days, I've noticed a conflit mineur in Reader Mail concerning the occasional use of French phrases in some TAS articles. This morning, taking the invitation of correspondent Kitty Myers' to note the language translator facility available at www.dictionary.com, I visited that site only to learn that it's Word of the Day for today is fait accompli, a French phrase meaning "an accomplished and presumably irreversible deed or fact."
-- Samuel Keck
Indian Wells, California

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